Connor Parker pulls off a first national title for Royal Oak with NABC success
IT'S one down with one to come for Swadlincote club Royal Oak after Connor Parker became their first national champion.
In the final of the NABC Championships in Stoke, the 17-year-old outboxed and outpointed London opponent Sean Robinson (Hooks) to take the class B 63kg title.
Parker was on the front foot from the first bell, knocking back the head of Robinson with firm jabs and combinations and not allowing his opponent the chance to strike a rhythm of his own.
Robinson did launch a comeback in the third and final round but could not do enough to sway the majority of the judges at the King's Hall.
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That takes Parker to a 26-12 record and makes up for his disappointment in 2009, when a controversial disqualification cost him victory in the final of the ABA Schools Championship.
He will now try to emulate his cousin, Zach, by following success last season in the NABCs, then known as the CYP Championships, with victory in the Junior ABAs.
Before then, Royal Oak hope to be able to celebrate a second national champion today when cruiserweight Lee Harrison joins Trinity super-heavyweight Jake Harrison and South Normanton flyweight Dinesh Puri in the finals of the ABA Senior Novices in Sunderland.
The ABA Female Championships start tomorrow, though most of the Derbyshire entries will be made to wait for a further week yet.
The north semi-finals are to be contested in Manchester, where Chantelle Johal of Merlin, a champion in 2011 and a beaten finalist last season, will be joined by One Nation's Jessica Poxon.
Johal has a senior class B 54kg contest against Ambreen Sadiq of Eastburn in Yorkshire, while Poxon, frustrated when she was left with no opponent last season, is to take on Kirstie Bravington of Dudley club Lions in a senior class C 67kg bout.
Poxon already knows that if she gets through this semi-final, Orpington's Chantelle Berimi will be waiting for her in the final but Johal must wait until after the south semis in Portsmouth today to find out who her potential next opponent will be.
The finals are to be held in Cannock over the weekend of December 15-16 and Talia Anthony will again be there. The Chadd boxer will be going for a fifth national title in six seasons when he faces Middleton's Emma Harrison in the class A 51kg final.
Also in senior class A, Suzanne Watson will chase a third title at 67kg. She was a winner twice under her maiden name of Hemsley and now represents Denby-based Power Gym, with her opponent to be decided in the south semis.
Derby City's Gemma Smith was originally the only entry at senior class B 67kg but will now have a final opponent following the decision by Heart of Portsmouth's Mondana Fard to step up a weight from 63.5kg.
Sandy Ryan is a notable absentee from the competition this season as the former two-time winner and European Junior silver medallist from One Nation decided she could not commit to training as fully as she wanted while recovering from a broken ankle earlier this year.
In the junior competition, Pegasus' Autumn Goodwin, also twice a national champion, has stepped down from 60kg to 58kg to set up a rematch against Poppi Burton (SYD Ringside). They met in the 2011 final, with Goodwin taking the decision by the narrowest of margins, 3-2 on the judges' nominations with the points score level on countback.
South Normanton's Shai-Anne McGhee is the only Derbyshire entry in the schools competition and is to go into a final at 56kg against Elizabeth Dillon of Moss Side Fire Station.